If I were in your shoes, I would probably take a look at the
I'll second Judit's recommendation. The speakers appear to be the weakest link. Also, get a phono preamp and get that turntable going again. LP's will sound 'warmer' than digital. You may want to trade the B&O for a Rega 3 or VPI JR. As for speakers, go listen to some Dynaudio, Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustic, Soliloquay, or Silverline speakers. Then you'll realize it's your speakers.
I have to disagree with the other posters on the speakers. I think the Rotel/Krell combo is causing the harshness you are hearing. I am very familiar with the ADS sound since I have a pair of L1290s I bought in 1984. As you are probably aware, they have the same midrange and tweeter that the L1590s have and, if anything, are on the warm side of neutral. I no longer use them in my main system, having upgraded to Soliloquy 6.5s last December, but I used them for 17 years, finding it very hard to find something significantly better. The L1290 and L1590 are still very competitive with modern speakers. In my own search, I couldn't find anything under $4K that would beat them. The Vienna Beethovens sound very similar to the L1290s.
You said they sound best at higher levels which sounds strange to me. I found the L1290s to sound more realistic at low levels than most other speakers. This makes me think you have a component (or cable) that is compressing dynamics.
See if you can borrow a top-flight SS amp (Rowland, Pass, Levinson) and some good cables (Cardas Neutral Ref. or Kimber Select) before you give up on the ADS's.
Another thing, I'm pretty sure your speakers are not meant to be bi-wired. The two sets of binding post are meant to be used with an active crossover. If you try to feed full-range power to the tweeter I think you'll damage it. Maybe this is the cause of your problems.
I live in Boston too. Try Tweeter's Etc. They're all over the place here, but don't listen to anything in the store except for the Viennas and the Rels. Oh yeah, and don't expect anyone in the store to know anything at all--especially about the lines they carry. Still, go for a listen. I am a very big fan the Vienna/Rel combo.
Hey...I'm from Beantown too!
I'm pretty careful to avoid the line-pushing at most dealerships, and Goodwin's regard for MIT cables has irked me for a long time....
Spearit (Boston) is a source for JM Labs, B&W (if you must, and sister Rotel; their Northampton store (a bit of a ride, but VERY nice folks) stocks the wonderful new Thiel 1.6 and NAD B stock at really low prices.
Cameras Inc. near me in Arlington has my favorite Spendors, as well JM Labs, NHT and NAD, as well TVs and cameras.
Barry Wilenski is an industry old-timer, softseller, and a treasure.
Audiolab in Cambridge sells Audio Refinement, NAD, Ruark & Spendor,and Triangle, as well Alon. I've sent several folks to them
for an NAD CDP/ARC Integrated/X speaker system over the years. They have the BEST repair services in New England, and have a true objectivity in value. Mike and Derrick will quickly admit that most manufacturers' smallest speakers sound the best, for example.
Natural Sound in Framingham has B&W/Rotel, PSB, and importantly my favorite Revel F30 floorstanders. You've got to check these out for $3k.
Ensemble has moved to NH, along with their Verity Audio, Pass, Thiel, and Aeriel lines. You can get Verity Audio and Sonus Faber down at Sounds and Images In Westport.
Hope this has helped. Ern (West Medford) PS Need a car?!
thanks for the advise, i'll try the speakers single wired, but i think i had the same problem before. i'll have to demo a better amp, maybe it could be the rotel with the a/d/s. i had tried the rc1090, rotel pre for a few weeks, and it was so harsh i thought my ears would bleed.
the list of dealers is great. i have been to natural sound and spearit's boston store, (where i got the rotel and krell).gonna take a ride up to goodwin this week, i would like to hear the dunlavy's that everyone talks about. thanks again